International Yoga Day: What do Americans think when they hear 'yoga'?
June 18th, 2024, Janice Fernandes

International Yoga Day: What do Americans think when they hear 'yoga'?

In celebration of International Yoga Day, a new YouGov survey explores what Americans associate with yoga. The survey, targeting US adults, explores what concepts come to mind when they think of yoga, revealing a nuanced understanding among respondents.

Overall, 62% of respondents mention physical exercise, such as stretching and poses, the most popular association with yoga.

Beyond its physical benefits, a significant 53% of respondents acknowledge yoga’s capacity to foster relaxation techniques. This is followed by meditation and mindfulness practices (51%), breathing exercises (43%), and spiritual or philosophical aspects (25%).

Gender differences in perception are evident, with women (56%) more likely than men (45%) to associate yoga with meditation and mindfulness. Similarly, women (56%) also edge out men (49%) in linking yoga with relaxation techniques, reflecting varying perspectives across demographics.

Age-wise, while physical exercise remains the predominant association across all groups, its importance seems to amplify with age. For instance, 67% of adults aged 65 and over associate yoga with physical exercise, compared to 57% of 18-29-year-olds. Similarly, older adults are more likely to think of yoga and relaxation techniques (58% vs. 48% of 18-29-year-olds).

The data on meditation and mindfulness practices remains consistent across all age groups, with a slight dip for those aged between 30 to 44 years (47%). Similarly, the association of yoga with breathing exercises remains steady across all ages.

Fewer Americans associate yoga with spiritual or philosophical aspects. While only 21% of those aged 45-64 make this connection, more than a quarter (28%) of both younger adults (18-29) and older adults (65+) do so.

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Methodology: YouGov Surveys: Serviced provide quick survey results from
nationally representative or targeted audiences in multiple markets. The data is based on surveys of adults aged 18+ years in the United States with a sample size of 1,520. The survey was conducted online in April 2024. Data uses a nationally representative sample. Learn more about YouGov Surveys: Serviced.

Image: Getty Images